RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) - It is Election Day in Rio Rancho, as voters are being asked to make a tough choice between a better UNM campus or better police and fire departments.
It is a measure that would cut half of the money funding UNM’s west campus and city council says in return they would pour money into public safety.
Despite only this one measure being on the ballot Tuesday, a steady stream of voters were seen weighing in at the Meadowlark Senior Center, one of four polling stations open.
Voters are basically choosing between funding higher education or funding public safety.
If it passes, the measure would cut residents gross tax receipts going to higher education from a fourth of one percent to an eighth of a percent.
Republican city councilor Chuck Wilkins says if voters pass it, councilors will pass another tax to send about $1 million a year into Rio Rancho police and fire departments.
Many voters said they do not know why they have to choose between what they say are two very important needs.
“Kids need that and i think the opportunity to get an education is what makes people stay out of trouble,” Leslie Coleman said.
“It’s not like we're taking all that money away, they will continue to get it and our police and fire are way under funded and way under staffed and they need some help," Judith Talmadge said.
Polling will stay open until 7 o’clock Tuesday night at four stations:
Meadowlark Senior Center
Sol Rio Church
Mountain View Middle School
UNM says it will continue to operate UNM West even if the measure passes. Though, some worry that could change.
Right now, about 600 students are enrolled at the west campus.
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